Charter schools have younger teachers

August 27, 2013 in Blog

Today the New York Times reports that charter school teachers are younger, on average, than traditional school teachers. While charter school teachers have an average of two to five years experience, teachers in traditional schools have close to an average of 14 years experience.  

Charter schools see the youth of their teachers as a desirable quality.  

Federal government repeats demand that Washington rewrite its teacher/principal evaluation bill

August 16, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday, the news broke that the U.S. Department of Education meant what it said last summer, when it told Washington state to rewrite its teacher/principal evaluation bill, SB 5896. Because lawmakers did not do so, the federal government has now declared Washington’s one-year waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements at “high risk” of not being renewed. 

I said it last summer, and I’ll say it again.  The federal government has a lot of nerve. 

Milton Friedman's birthday and charter schools in Washington state

July 31, 2013 in Blog

Today is the 101st anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. People across the country are celebrating the great economist and his contributions to education reform in America. 

Federal Way School Leaders Should Take Responsibility

July 29, 2013 in Blog

On July 26, the Federal Way Mirror published “Federal Way School Leaders Should Take Responsibility” by Austin Cooper, a WPC Research Assistant.  

Austin has been helping WPC’s Center for Education distribute information to local communities about their schools’ performance on the State Board of Education’s annual School Achievement Index.

State Board of Education weakens School Achievement Index

July 24, 2013 in Blog

On July 10 and 11, the 15 member State Board of Education, led by Chairman Jeff Vincent, voted to weaken Washington’s School Achievement Index, as reported here and here.  Members have decided to shift the weight of the assessment of school performance from whether students are actually learning at grade level, to m

In The Seattle Times: Education reforms for state students blocked by WEA

July 16, 2013 in Blog

Today The Seattle Times published my editorial about the blocked education reforms in the recent legislative session.  Here it is:

Education reforms for state students blocked by WEA

Although education funding will reach an all-time high in Washington state, important reforms were left on the table, writes guest columnist Liv Finne.

Special to The Seattle Times--July 16, 2013

Highline School Board Director attacks charter school law

July 15, 2013 in Blog

On Friday, July 12, Highline School Board Director Susan Goding wrote a short article against allowing charter schools, “Authorizing charter schools makes no business sense for school districts.” You can read the article here.   This article is a clear attempt to discourage implementation of the new charter school law.

Spokane Public Schools embraces charter schools to become Washington’s most progressive, forward-looking district

July 12, 2013 in Blog

On July 1st, Spokane Public Schools was the only district in Washington state to submit an application to become a charter school authorizer for the 2014-15 school year. Responsible for the education of 28,738 students, Spokane Public Schools is the second-largest district in Washington.  With this decision, Spokane has become the state’s most progressive, forward-looking district in the state.

School board association hosts meeting on charter schools; 12 districts delay plans to open charter schools

July 9, 2013 in Blog

Monday, July 1st was an important date in the implementation of Initiative 1240, the voter-approved measure that legalized charter schools for Washington school children.  That was the deadline for interested school districts to submit an application to the State Board of Education to become a charter school authorizer. 

Education union seeks to stop children from attending charter schools

July 3, 2013 in Blog

The Washington Education Association launched its long-anticipated legal attack on charter schools today. Lawyers for the powerful public-sector union filed suit in King County Superior Court to overturn voter-approved Initiative 1240. If successful, the lawsuit would deny access to charter schools to Washington school children.

Bi-partisan bill would increase funding to school classrooms

June 25, 2013 in Blog

The bi-partisan education reform bill, SB 5946, sponsored by senators Dammeier (R-Puyallup) and Frockt (D-Seattle) would direct more funding to the classroom to educate children, with a specific focus on early reading, the Learning Assistance Program, training new teachers, online learning and keeping kids in school.  Opponents of the bill, led by the powerful WEA union, do not like any limits on their control over where the money goes within the education bureaucracy.

Students are feeling the impact of higher-education cuts

June 22, 2013 in Blog

Yesterday, Katherine Long of The Seattle Times writes an informative report on how college tuition hikes are putting the squeeze on middle-class students. She describes how state cuts hurt students seeking to attend a public college or university.  She reports on the plight of Ruth Ferguson, Elizabeth Pring, Christina Xiao, Josh Grandinetti and other U.W. students who are finding it hard to finance their education. 

National Council on Teacher Quality study criticizes the educators of teachers

June 20, 2013 in Blog

The National Council on Teacher Quality released its first annual report, “Teacher Prep Review,” a comprehensive evaluation of the quality of the colleges and universities that train the nation’s teachers. Using a four-star rating system, the Review assesses the 1,130 institutions that train 99% of schoolteachers.

The study finds that three-quarters of teacher-training institutions in the U.S. earned only two stars. Researchers found that:

State Board of Education postpones vote on weakening School Achievement Index

June 18, 2013 in Blog

As I reported yesterday, the State Board of Education has postponed its vote to weaken Washington’s School Achievement Index.  The fifteen-member Board, led by Chairman Jeff Vincent, has decided to take up less controversial topics during its meeting tomorrow in Olympia. Click here to see the meeting agenda.

State Board of Education cancels vote to weaken School Achievement Index

June 17, 2013 in Blog

This Wednesday, June 19th, the State Board of Education meets in Olympia to discuss revisions to the School Achievement Index to reduce the rigor of the performance criteria used to evaluate schools, as I’ve explained here.  Originally, they planned to vote on the revisions after taking public testimony.